Carrie Rengers

Last Wichita Salvation Army thrift store closes

This former store in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon was the last of the Salvation Army thrift stores in Wichita.
This former store in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon was the last of the Salvation Army thrift stores in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle

The last of the Salvation Army thrift stores in Wichita has closed.

At one time, there were about half a dozen in the area.

The last remaining one was in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon.

“That store was actually losing about $100,000 a year,” says Maj. Troy Barker, administrator for the Salvation Army’s Kansas City rehabilitation center.

He says it had been five or six years since the store was profitable.

“We struggled.”

Wichita lost its Salvation Army rehabilitation center about 12 years ago.

“In the process, they closed all their stores except for, I believe, three of them,” Barker says. “The thrift stores solely exist to support our drug and alcohol programs and … the homeless shelter for the men.”

The Kansas City office took over the operation of the stores.

“It was just too difficult to manage them from three hours away,” Barker says.

The Wichita Salvation Army headquarters only recently learned that the last thrift store was closing, says city commander Maj. Glen Caddy.

“They just kept it open as a service,” he says.

There’s a slight chance a store or stores could reopen.

“It has been considered, but not real seriously at this time,” Caddy says.

“We’re not in a position to take on something where we’re going to lose money.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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